Sunday, January 20, 2008

Getting Away, Getting Back

Getting away from my normal routine, for the 10 day intensive that’s part of my low-residency MFA program, is bliss. Getting back (after a day snowed-in in Maine), getting organized, getting updated with my family -- and getting over a certain sadness at seeing those days of doing nothing but thinking about and talking about writing -- is hard.

Here’s what helps: getting welcomed home with more hugs and appreciation than one can usually expect from teenage- and pre-pubescent sons; getting an email that an essay has been accepted by an unusual literary journal; and getting good news about writer friends and finding nifty new sites.

- My friend David Healey, a witty newspaper columnist/editor, and not incidentally, a gifted writer of historic novels, has had the good fortune of seeing one of his books, Sharpshooter, originally published in 1999, re-issued by Bella Rosa Books.

- Jenny Rough offers a quick guide to 30 markets for personal essays over on

- After enjoying Bill Bryson’s engaging biography Shakespeare: The World as Stage (part of the Eminent Lives Series, which pairs unlikely writers with prominent historic icons), I happened onto this site, which delivers a different Shakespeare quote weekly.

- Persimmon Tree features wonderful writing by “women over sixty” – writers who have plenty to say about nearly any issue you can think of that’s mattered to women in the last six or so decades: in other words: everything.

- Say what you want about self-publishing, pro or con. When a writer has written, re-written, and revised a book-length manuscript, and is ready to face that fickle public known as readers, they’ve earned a rung on the literary ladder. I’m off to a launch party for Thinking of Miller Place: A Memoir of Summer Comfort, by New Jersey writer Ethel Lee Miller, a successful motivational speaker and life coach, whose book is a series of recollections of lazy, promise-filled mid-century summers on Long Island. Who couldn’t use some of those right about now?

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